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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 10:59 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Jones among five Americans in Top Prospects game

    Ryan Hartman, Plymouth Whalers, OHL

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- While the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be dominated by Canadian-born players, it's worth noting that five Americans will also be strutting their stuff on Wednesday at Metro Centre.

Leading the way is Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones of Plano, Texas. He will be joined on Team Orr by Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne of New Haven, Conn., and Kitchener Rangers forward Justin Bailey of Williamsville, N.Y.

The two U.S. representative on Team Cherry are Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman of West Dundee, Ill., and Oshawa Generals forward Cole Cassels of Columbus, Ohio. Hartman and Jones each played a big role for Team USA in a gold medal-winning performance at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory believes it's a sign of the times to see more Americans participating at the CHL Top Prospects Game.

"First of all, more Americans are comfortable coming to the CHL to develop their career and when you get a guy like Seth Jones, who is a potential first overall pick doing it, I think that's the kind of trend you're starting to see," Gregory told NHL.com. "The teams pick who they want here, so it's almost on who they feel are the best prospects and who they want to see in this game. I think there's more Americans in the league so there's a chance more Americans will get here.


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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 12:25 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Goalies could steal Top Prospects spotlight

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- In addition to there being plenty of high-caliber forwards and defensemen on the rosters for the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet), the four goaltenders set for battle might have a say in the outcome.

The four goalies were ranked among the top six on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of North American goaltenders -- No. 1 Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, No. 3 Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, No. 5 Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League and No. 6 Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.


Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans (WHL), No. 2 on the list, originally was invited to participate in the game, is unable to participate due to an undisclosed injury. He was replaced Monday by Desrosiers.

NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen, who specializes in goalie prospects, gave NHL.com an analysis of each player. Fucale and Jarry will split duty for Team Cherry, while Martin and Desrosiers will share the net for Team Orr.

Fucale, who is 28-4-2 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .896 save percentage, will have the hometown faithful in his corner with the game being played at his home rink, the Metro Centre in Halifax. Fucale probably is the only goaltender of all the 2013 draft-eligible prospects at his position to have the best chance at being chosen in the first round. Earlier this season, he became the fastest 17-year-old goaltender to reach 50 career wins in the QMJHL, and his 28 wins this season ranks first among all Canadian Hockey League goaltenders.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Central Scouting's Dan Marr discusses midterm ranks

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, believes the top spot in 2013 NHL Draft is a four-player race.

While that may be the case, there are also two clear frontrunners -- defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and center Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads.

In the release of its midterm rankings Tuesday, Central Scouting pegged Jones the top-rated skater in North America, followed by MacKinnon.

"Jonathan Drouin and Aleksander Barkov are going to make a case for themselves," Marr told NHL.com. "Ultimately, the teams selecting will pick their players, but I can tell you that No. 1 and No. 2 are fluid. It wasn't an easy decision, and there's nothing negative to say about either [Jones or MacKinnon].

"They are both very good in their own right, and they play different positions. That will influence some people since they are the best players at their position. To say one is the best overall was tough."

So why did Jones finally earn the nod?

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 9:10 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Captains prefer action over words

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Better scratch any thought of a rousing pregame speech from captains Nathan MacKinnon of Team Cherry or Seth Jones of Team Orr prior to faceoff at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Metro Centre on Wednesday.

Both highly-coveted prospects -- MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads and Jones of the Portland Winterhawks -- would prefer to do their talking on the ice.

MacKinnon and Jones, selected captains of their respective teams last month, were relatively low key when asked if they had any "One for the Gipper" speeches prepared for their teammates prior to skating out for pregame warmups.

"I'm not a big pregame speech kind of guy," MacKinnon said with a grin. "I don't think that's going to happen. Maybe another guy will step up and do that, but I'm sure everyone will be ready to go as it is."

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Posted On Monday, 01.14.2013 / 3:09 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Desrosiers replaces Comrie in Top Prospects Game

The Canadian Hockey League on Monday announced that goalie Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans will miss the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday due to an undisclosed injury.

Comrie, NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-rated goalie on its preliminary list of players at his position in the Western Hockey League, will be replaced on Team Orr by Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Top Prospects game is scheduled Wednesday at Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 7 p.m. ET (NHLN-US, Sportsnet).


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Posted On Monday, 01.14.2013 / 7:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Top prospects ready to shine in Halifax

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA -- Defenseman Seth Jones and center Nathan MacKinnon will highlight the rosters for their respective teams on Wednesday when the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is held at the Metro Centre in Halifax.

The contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET (NHLN-US, Sportsnet).

MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will captain Team Cherry and Jones of the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League will wear the 'C' for Team Orr.

With the exception of the three players representing Team Cherry from Halifax -- MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin and Zachary Fucale -- 37 others will be arriving in the province of Nova Scotia on Monday afternoon.

Team Cherry and head coach Don Cherry will conduct a practice session at 6 p.m. ET, followed by Team Orr and coach Mike McPhee at 7 p.m. ET.

On Tuesday, the players will undergo on- and off-ice testing at the Metro Centre from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET. The remainder of the day is set aside for interviews and television promos.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.12.2013 / 3:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Cassels in for injured Carrier for Top Prospects Game

The Canadian Hockey League on Saturday announced that forward William Carrier of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will miss the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game due to a lower-body injury that may sideline him for up to three weeks.

Carrier will be replaced on Team Cherry by Cole Cassels of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. The Top Prospects Game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday (NHLN-US, Sportsnet) at Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ranked No. 7 on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of QMJHL skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, Carrier is the second player in three days to be sidelined by injury for the Top Prospects Game. Defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League suffered a wrist injury and on Thursday was on Team Cherry by Jordan Subban of the Belleville Bulls of the OHL.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.10.2013 / 11:14 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Subban to replace Pulock at Top Prospects Game

The Canadian Hockey League on Thursday announced that defenseman Ryan Pulock would not play in the 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game due to a wrist injury that could sideline him two weeks.

Pulock will be replaced on Team Cherry by Jordan Subban of the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League. The Top Prospects Game is scheduled for Wednesday at Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 7 p.m. ET.

Subban, who ranks 12th among defensemen in the OHL with 27 points on seven goals and 20 assists, is No. 17 on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players in the league. The 5-foot-9, 175 pound blueliner is the youngest of the Subban brothers -- defenseman P.K. Subban and goalie Malcolm Subban.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.09.2013 / 2:20 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Sport Testing Inc. to put top prospects to the test

Before the top prospects of the Canadian Hockey League showcase their ability at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday, they'll undergo a series of on- and off-ice tests that will provide scouts and general managers an instant profile on each player.

On Tuesday morning, all 40 of the players competing in the game will be put through those tests at Metro Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, home of the Halifax Mooseheads of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The on-ice component, which will have 10 individual measurements that break each player's game down into the essentials of speed, agility, explosiveness, stickhandling and reaction time, will be conducted by Sport Testing Inc. Company co-founders Jonathan and Jamie Hollins and additional assistants will lead the testing.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.05.2013 / 9:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Grimaldi's pair has U.S. up 2-1 after two periods

Rocco Grimaldi made his presence felt for the United States at the most important time at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

It happened in the second period of the gold-medal game against defending champion Sweden in Ufa, Russia, on Saturday.

Grimaldi, who was dropped from the first line to the fourth line four games ago, scored a pair of second-period goals to rally the Americans to a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of action at Ufa Arena.

Grimaldi's second of the game came off a tip in the slot. Jacob Trouba fired a rocket from the right point that Grimaldi deftly deflected past Swedish goalie Niklas Lundstrom 10:27 into the period to give the United States its first lead.

The Swedes came close to squaring the contest while shorthanded when Anaheim Ducks prospect William Karlsson broke in on United States goalie John Gibson off a turnover, but was denied with less than five minutes left in the second.

The United States pulled into a 1-1 tie 7:42 into the second when Grimaldi connected for his first of the tournament on a great individual effort. The Florida Panthers prospect raced to a loose puck behind Sweden's net before skating out beyond the left post and firing a shot that skittered over Lundstrom's right pad before dropping over the line.

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